The Eyes of the Devil

Jose VilsonEducation, Jose, Writing6 Comments

administrativeslavery.jpgI made this little picture (which is click-able for full view) after I swear I saw the devil right in front of me. One of the scariest moments we’ll ever encounter as teachers is when we see the devil in the eyes of the people who are supposed to help our children. We can tell when we see them when they’re doing things to our kids that are not only irrational but immoral, when they walk the tightrope on the rules so it works to their favor, and when they smile, proud of the job they’ve done with themselves.

The first time I saw a bit of the devil was in middle school, when I had a disagreement with my language arts teacher. At first, it was no big deal; we were arguing over what constituted a predicate, something that confused me a little bit at my young age. That wasn’t too bad. Then he started getting on me for the use of the phrase “What happened?” my response to something I didn’t quite hear. He wanted me to say, “Excuse me?” After using the former a good 10 times in his class, he made me write that phrase over 1000 times during the course of the school year. It was so absurd that I continued to use it, and the fact that he wouldn’t call my mom to rectify the situation made me believe he was the devil; his ears might have burned in my Catholic household. (Jokes, jokes …)

The second time I saw the devil was in my junior year of high school; the man’s prestigious record included decades of service to my school. A father of the cloth, how could someone with such a rapport be anything but G_dly? One fateful morning, we had a read-aloud in preparation for the SATs. He called on me to answer, and I did … only he didn’t hear me. I said it loudly enough that a teacher across the way closed his door. Yet the teacher continued to pretend to not hear me. He called on the boy next to me and the boy gave him the same answer. The teacher said, “That’s correct.” Shaking my head in disgust and waving off the cackles from the student population / peanut gallery, I thought I’d never see the devil within the confines of that edifice.

The third time … well I can’t talk about the third time. All I know is that the devil has no color. The spirit wears many cloths and sometimes all at once. It wasn’t a race issue because I’ve found the devil amongst my own “people.” It’s not a monetary issue because it can be people who don’t live for money. It’s amorphous.

In the teaching profession though, evil usually rears its ugly head in the spaces where the heartless once held their arteries. People often think of negative things happening in a far-off land in some book designed for the Read-180 program or in one of the 25 books these kids need to read to get a “grand prize.” No. It’s ever present, and when teachers and administrators don’t genuinely care about the children they have powers over, the faint scent of sulfur and charcoal don’t follow too far behind. There’s a difference between a teacher who doesn’t care about the profession, just collecting paychecks, and a teacher who makes it his / her personal business to mistreat his students. The first is more readily professionally developed; the second is often a dark minion to a more evil cause.

I’ll file this under creative writing, but be warned. Maybe using Santeria to cast good spirits in your school isn’t a bad idea. I’ve looked into the eyes of the devil, and the devil still treads his feet in our system.


p.s. – Thanks to Education Matters US for including me in the latest edition of the Carnival of Education.

Comments 6

  1. Pingback: Education Matters US » 132nd Carnival of Education

  2. I couldn’t put it in better words… this “devil” you’re talking about exists in teachers, administrators, and parents. Have you ever see the “devil” in your students? I don’t know if it’s the school we’re working in (or in my case, worked in), or if it’s the same in every school, but something’s gotta give.

    P.S. I think I know what you got for me. And for that, I wanna say…………………
    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

  3. That’s an arresting motif for characterizing uncaring “educators.” You have captured the very most frightening aspect of allowing these zombies to walk through the halls of our schools.

    Brrrr. I just got a chill thinking about it. You’re on to something here.

  4. Lately I have been thinking about a “despojo” for the “Glass House” in order to cast out the “devils”-the evil ignorance that exists among administrators, teachers, and fools with titles whom forget the reason why we have a school, for the kids. Think I need to look into the possibility of a santero to come and do his/her thing. (Kidding-not really)

    This piece made me think of the fight of good vs. evil – Catholic school upbringing. Does this mean that we are the “archangesls” putting up our swords to fight off the minions of ignorance which exist in our educational system? As an educator, I define the “enemy” as those individuals who contribute absolutely nothing to our kids. They are the ones who collect paycheck after paycheck by just occupying space. Or the ones who have determined that our kids will not succeed therefore why try. Then we have those who want to save the poor black and Latino kids because after all who better than them-these are the sacrificial lambs. We also have teachers who sit on their asses all day long reading the newspaper, calling their mistresses on the cell phone while the students are there to tell them that they are “hungry” so to get it ready. What do you say to that?

    Administrators are an entirely different category. Are they worse than those mentioned above? There are those who move up because they need a title in order to feel “powerful” and add the zeros to their annual salary and their focus are not the “stakeholders” but their own hide. I have had the pleasure of meeting the latest administrative devil – the one who loses 4 years worth of regents exams. OOOPSS!!
    Is this an oversight? Don’t understand how it was permissable to impose upon seniors to take all the h.s. regents exams in a week in order for them to graduate? No one says anything about it but just looks the other way. Or the devil that uses his status of power over a female student and engages in an illicit relationship and during all this time his peers were “suspicious” but the mentality of “it ain’t my business” superceded reason. DAMN-I need a spear, a sword, a body armor, helmet, wonderwoman bracelets and magic lasso to continue the fight of good vs. evil.

    Thank you for the post-always provokes some reflection.

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